It took a long time for Justin to accept that you can’t calculate love, and if anybody could, it would be him. But it was unexpected, unanticipated, fortuitous.
Every night-- his back against the slate walls of his cell, knees tucked in tightly, just thinking. Every breath was another exhale of regret, doubt, or worry, and you could see his delicate breath sweep sparkling dust across the floor, visible in slim light through his bars, and he inhaled another stale tedious gulp of air. The floor was damp for how many times he’d cried.
Did Naomi really love me? Did she really care? Does she think about me now as her shadow haunts me? Should I consider her a villain or bitter to leave me like this? I had it all; the grades, the potential, the spirit, and I was going to take her to prom. . .
. . .
Why why why did I get the marijuana? I was so blind out of love. . .
. . .
And most of all, I’ll never take the most marvelous girl out or get to make her smile. We’ll likely never see each other on this earth, not even one last time.
Justin laid his knees on top of his ruffled thin orange blankets, bouquet of curls on the wall, his hands on both sides, limply pressing his palms into the wall. That was when it hit him. . . no. . . stabbed. . . speared through him in a blaze; all of his hope, kindness, passion-- it was draining throughout his sentence.
Does Naomi regret anything? Does she want to see me again?
That would depend-- did he still have any affection left in his dull narrow eyes or in his withering heart? Anything that boldy says, “Justin” left? He’d need remaining hope, still clinging to positivity for that.
So, did he think Naomi longed to see him?
Only if you believe in love, Justin, he told himself, only if you believe in love.